Footfall boosted by Christmas light switch-ons

Footfall across all UK retail destinations rose by 1.5% last week, compared to the week before, with Christmas lights providing a boost.
"Last week might have provided an early indicator of the anticipation of shoppers for visiting retail destinations over the Christmas trading period." : Diane Wehrle.
// UK retail footfall increased by 1.5% last week from the prior seven day period with the switching on of Christmas lights in many cities providing a boost
// With the widespread switch on taking place on Saturday, Springboard said the benefit to footfall in the shopping district will be seen more clearly this week

Footfall across all UK retail destinations rose by 1.5% last week, compared to the week before, with the switching on of Christmas lights in many cities on Friday cited as providing the boost.

According to figures from retail footfall specialist Springboard, footfall rose by 2.5 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively in high streets and shopping centres, however retail parks saw a decline of 1.1 per cent.

Much higher jumps in footfall were seen on Friday November 12, a popular day for many cities across the UK to turn on their Christmas lights, with footfall of 11.7 per cent in high streets and 3.2 per cent in retail parks.


READ MORE: High streets & shopping centres see double digit footfall drops as half term ends


Meanwhile, footfall in Central London rose by 1 per cent last week. However, with the widespread switch on taking place on Saturday, Springboard said the benefit to footfall in the shopping district will be seen more clearly this week.

In regional cities outside the capital, where lights were switched on on Friday, footfall rose by 4.7 per cent compared with just 1.4 per cent in market towns.

During the week, the gap from the 2019 levels of footfall widened to -14.8 per cent compared to -13.4 per cent in the week before last.

In high streets, the gap grew to -16.5 per cent from the previous week’s -15.1 per cent while the gap in shopping centres was -22 per cent compared to a previous -20.7 per cent.

Springboard found that retail parks remained the most resilient of the three destination types, with a gap from the 2019 level of just -3.5 per cent last week, however, the drop in footfall from the week before meant that this nearly doubled from -1.9 per cent in the week before last.

Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said: “With Christmas lights being switched on in a number of city centres at the end of last week, last week might have provided an early indicator of the anticipation of shoppers for visiting retail destinations over the Christmas trading period.

“Whilst footfall declined marginally between Monday and Friday last week, the week was bookended with marked increases from the week before on both Sunday and Saturday, the two days when shoppers are more readily able to make leisure trips to retail destinations.

“In addition, it was high streets and shopping centres – where Christmas events and decorations tend to be in the greatest abundance, rather than retail parks that benefited from the greatest uplift in shopper activity.”

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